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Friday, April 06, 2007

The Sacrifice

"I went to church this weekend." James said between sips of Big K cola.

"Why on earth did you do that?" I wanted to know. There was little to do in Somerset, but we'd generally managed without resorting to going to church.

"It was Easter. Dawna's family all went." I had forgotten it was Easter. I had stayed in Louisville so I could work. These were the days before i was brave enough to take the TARC anywhere so I spent most of the weekend sitting in the dorm with...time on my hands. I forgotten it was Easter. "It was pretty cool." he continued.

This last bit caused me to pause with my hand in the Grippo's bag. James was very easy going and nonjudegemental, still I was surprised that a guy who had, as far as I knew, only been to church once in his entire life could be so easily taken in. " you mean?" I carefully inquired.

"Well, it reminded me of Predator."

Now, in my 18 years of continuous church attendance, I have heard many outlandish things used in the sermons, from frightening stories of men having the word "God" burned into the chest by lightening to baby sitters turning inexplicably cannibal becuase they had "popped some pills". There were even quite a few pop cultural references, from The Charlie Daniels Band to the Brady Bunch Girls (special prize for anyone who remembers that one). However, Predator, well, this was new.

James continued in that excited but still soft and hushed way of his. "The preacher went into all this detail about how Jesus was beaten before he was crucified. He talked about the blood and the wounds and the crown of thorns pressed down on his head." My dad had once gone one about the size of the thorns they might have used. "I'm sure it wasn't a tiny rose bush with these little thorns." he said with a cracked voice. My dad wasn't really a shouter, but he was quite the weeper. "And I'm sure they didn't set it gentley on his head. I'm sure they pushed it down into flesh." and etcetera. I'm sure James was treated to quite a story. But still, I didn't know how Predator fit in.

"Then Jesus stumbles and falls at the foot of the hill, under the weight of his own cross." James looked into the distance, his eyes glassy. "And he talked about how he stood up again, under his own power, and continued to walk. He made him sound...heroic. Superheroic."
He paused to take a sip of his drink. "I kept imagining the Predators. How they would see this. They would think he was some great warrior." He turned to look at him, his eyes now on fire with inspiration.

"I think it would be great to do a comic that shows a Predator landing on earth during the crucifiction and standing, invisibile, among the crowd. He would watch Jesus fall down, bloody and broken, trembling with agony, and then Jesus would get his hard ass look on his face, and stand up defiantly. The Predator would then nod his head in approval."
I thought about it for a few seconds, taking a sip of my Dr. K. "You should do it!" I said.

He never did.

Friday, March 09, 2007

A Natural Affinity for Ice

I was saying to my wife the other day, after we watched The Incredibles again, that I don't ever want ice powers because I don't like to skate. Well, I should say I do like to skate enough, I just don't like to fall down and I am terrified of falling on ice. She replied that if one had ice powers, then one would naturally be more adept at moving on ice.

I dismissed this idea at first, but upon reflection I realized that there is no evidence this isn't true. I'm sure it never occured to anyone to test whether or not Iceman or Frozone could stand/walk better than somwone else. How does one qualify such things? How does one separate an innate ability from all the practice one gets rushing around on ice slides?
As they say about Tootsie Pops, the world may never know.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Effective Invisibility

Some colleagues and I were recently observing that it is fortunate that some who have the power to turn invisibility also, inexplicably, have the ability to generate force fields as well. As incongruous and improbable as this may seem, it does seem to off set a superpower that otherwise would appear very limited indeed. In fact, I myself flippantly remarked that without the force field power, invisibility would “suck ass”. However, I couldn’t stop thinking that this was neither flattering nor fair to those with the power to turn invisible, and demonstrated a lack of thoughtfulness and resourcefulness on my part. I have taken it upon myself to correct this misperception of invisibility by offering these handy tips.

1.)Know your role
Okay, we all want to go toe to toe with Dr. Sorrow or Mechgorilla, but that simply isn’t what you do. Your role is to one of reconnaissance and advance scout. You’ve honed your observation skills, spiked up your memorization, familiarized yourself with a variety of radio and subspace communicators, maybe even learned Morse Code. Your stealth is your strength, and your chief weapon is information. Everyone will applaud how Tunnor or Laser Mace dealt the coup de grace but perhaps they wouldn’t have known Tigersaur’s weak point or The Sinadrome’s evil plot if you hadn’t been out there, doing the stealth work. If you get really good at this, you might even find yourself employed by several superteams at once, head hunted by the Righteous League or Team Alpha. Of course, you might grow tired of Smashtra and Z Trooper making fun of your noncombat role, and maybe you’ve hauled one too many heavy hitter out of one death trap too many and you’d like to step up your effectiveness in the field.

2.)Learn Martial Arts
It works for Iron Panda and The Hallow. They routinely face powered opponents with nothing more than athleticism and skill. And you wouldn’t really have to be as good as they are, since you have the huge advantage of being invisible to your foes. All you need is a few basic aikido moves for throwing people to the ground and you’d be quite effective. Of course, no matter how many hours you spent punching bricks to harden your hands (and yes, the Hallow does that), there’s only so much you can against Carno or Giant Kahn. So, you might want to skip ahead to the next point.

3.)Pack Heat
Arm yourself with as many firearms as you can tote without impeding your movement. So you don’t want to go the lethal route like Specter General and Rath, and certainly you're more employable if you don’t, and wish to carry rubber bullets and tranqs like Streetcleaner, do keep in mind that neither of those things work against androids, robots, or armored foes. No one’s going to fault you for carrying a clip or two of Teflon coated armor piercing rounds for “emergency use”. After all, you can’t shoot through manacles or locks witout penetrating ammo. If you wish to take out a sizable Power Loan, or if you can land a job beta testing for CosmaCorps or Yang Lee Inc. (which is allegedly how Beta Max does it) (and, of course, how he got his name), you can equip yourself with the latest in repulsors, plasma knives, stunulators, etc. Which puts you right on par with Z Trooper, Beta Max, Dr. Revolver, and others, only you’ll have one advantage they don’t; you can turn invisible.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Big Lit

In the special features of Carnivale Season 2 Dan Hurtz(?) series creator said that the type of television HBO is doing is moving television out of its infancy. He compared these long form series with the 800 page novels, in which the first 50 or more pages are just character build up and laying out the setting. Note in Carnivale, and the same is true for Lost, how little happened in the first season but the second season was right into the thick of things. Now this didn't seem to work spectacularly well for Carnivale. They couldn't bring the audience back for the second season, but it does speak to the long form and its strengths and the weakness of the short form. Witness in comics where the short book with the explodo every few pages is a less satisfying read than a long story like Sandman. That's one thing that Japan got right with thier naitonal style of comic books. And the anime series, if you ever watched one, your well into the arc before anything happens an dyou know what's going on. The first few episodes are just giving you a taste of the people and the world.
I lack the patience for this type of thing, unfortunately. Well, not lack the patience, but I am not satisfied until the ublished story reaches that meaty part, where all the minor adventures into caves looking for treaures, at the cafes having conversation, or pointless explodos become a complex character driven story. I think that BRMX will reach that point eventually but in the meantime I'm not reaching my audience because there's too little of the meat and too much of the glaze and the fancy dressing.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


The other night, Friday to be exact, I was holding Willow in lap while watching a movie and I had the distinct feeling, more of a knowledge and less of a thought, that I was holding a minature version of myself. There's no way to ever get that feeling unless you actually are holding a minature version of yourself. It's profound on an existential level. I feel a little scared because I have burdened her with with a sense of "meness" and we all know what a challenge that can be. I am also excited because I get to watch "Me" and see what "I" do. Of course, she's also Angela and has both of our familal history to draw from, but she is my daughter and the apple never falls far from the tree, as they say. So far this has been the greatest experience of fatherhood; from the first time I looked in her face in the nursery and saw myself to this deeper level of that feeling the other night. It also cuts through the sense of alienation I always feel, a sense of isolation that even marriage couldn't penetrate.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Many Tongues, One Empire

New page up, more Guide to Xrox. I'm working on the next bit of the Guide, about the Ithdanes of the North, Eina's people. I like the Ithdanes. They are tremendous fun!
Which reminds me, many of you have asked "How do you say Eina's name? Is it pronounced 'In nah', or 'EE nah'?" I've always gone somewhere in the middle, "E In Ah", but as we've no Ithdanes to ask, I suppose any one could be correct. So, as your Emperor, I have decreed the First official Election in the Fandom Empire!! Everyone send in your votes for how you think Eina's name should be pronounced and that will be the official pronunciation, as well as establishing a guide for the dialect of the entire Ithdane people!!
Pretty cool, huh? I wouldn't call us a democracy, but as you all know, I adore hearing from you and I think your loyalty, devotion, and curiosity has warranted a little audience participation.
Bryon has been in touch this week. It's always a good sign when you get an email, ANY email!, from your artists. Bryon is actually asking me technical questions, which means he's at least trying to give the impression that he's hard at work on BRMX 2. (Just kidding Bryon! I know how much you want to unseat Peter as the #3 Citizen in the Land of the Future) (Alas, he'll have to settle for #3 as my adorable wife Angela is #1 and the Once and Future Empress, Willow, is Citizen #2. Blood is thicker than India Ink and all that).
James has hinted that there might be a new page of Xrox #2 when I visit him this weekend (in a few hours in fact). As you've all noticed, he's posted two new pages of Seven Arrows on his own site. Perhaps he's shaken off the Malaise?
Speaking of plagues, I have become aware of new strain of Slack in great Poptropolis. You may have heard of ADD, which is a vulgar way of putting it. I prefer to think of it as an Enlargement of the Mind's Eye...for lack of a better word.
It's a tricky business as one often doesn't realize that they fighting off an illness. It clever attaches itself to other systems in the cognosphere and might result in a killer winning streak at Diablo II, say, or a productive morning updating your MySpace account, and then, when a diagnosis is taken, you realize "Hmm, that new page of Xrox 3 hasn't changed much in the past week."
But, as they say, "Knowing good." Or something.